Global Crossroad has offered volunteer in Cambodia programs (including internship) since 2003. We are able to place volunteers on the 1st or 3rd Monday of any month, year round. We recommend applying at least two months in advance, as there is an ever-increasing volume of applications. If your application must be expedited for quicker placement, please contact our office for more information.
What happens once I submit my documents and application to volunteer in Cambodia? Once Global Crossroad receives and reviews your completed application, it is then forwarded to our In-Country Coordinator in Cambodia who will then finalize a personal assignment as per your qualifications, experience and requests. Your finalized placement details are forwarded to you upon completion.
The application process may take up to 2-4 weeks - occasionally longer given the time of year and influx of applications to your chosen country. However, in the event that an applicant requires quicker placement due to time constraints, we request you contact Global Crossroad's offices prior to submitting an application.
The only initial documentation required is our completed application form, which can be found online (http://www.globalcrossroad.com/apply). We reserve the right to request further information or documentation; however, in most situations information contained in the application is sufficient. Applicants have the option to either submit their application online or download the application from the website and submit the completed form to Global Crossroad's USA-based offices by either mail or fax.
The only qualifications are:
Securing a tourist visa is the volunteer's responsibility and Global Crossroad requires all volunteers to obtain a tourist visa before departing for Cambodia.
Please call our office or contact your nearest Cambodia embassy to learn more about visa, visa fees and visa extensions. Much information can be learned online by searching out Cambodia's embassy or consulate.
Global Crossroad's in-country Coordinator in Cambodia is responsible for researching appropriate volunteer projects as per the qualifications, skills and interests of the applicants.
Project schedules vary for each project in Cambodia. Most projects are from Monday to Friday, for approximately 54-5 hours a day. Most volunteers have the weekends and evenings off to sightsee or explore Cambodia on their own.
Programs in Cambodia will take place in Phnom Penh or in the rural provincial province capitals. Review the details of your project on our website or in your placement documents for the particular city or area to which you will be travelling.
Khmer or Cambodian is the language of the Khmer people and the official language of Cambodia. It is the second most widely spoken Austro-Asiatic language after Vietnamese, with speakers in the tens of millions. Khmer is generally a subject-verb-object language with prepositions. The noun has no grammatical gender or singular/plural distinction.
Global Crossroad programs are available year round and begin on the 1st or 3rd Monday of every month.
Global Crossroad advises that you commit to between 2-12 weeks. In general, most countries do not allow those traveling on a tourist visa to stay longer than 12 weeks. If you are set on staying longer, contact a Global Crossroad representative to discuss your options.
International flight coordination and payment of international airfare is a volunteer's responsibility.
Phnom Penh, Cambodia (Phnom Penh Pochentong International Airport), however, random placements may require arrival at a different airport. Please do not book travel until your placement is complete.
Please arrive the day before your assignment begins. If you wish to arrive earlier, your accommodation and meals will be your responsibility. Please review the personal placement information package we will forward to you.
You will be greeted up at the airport, but you must send your travel itinerary to our Cambodia in-country Coordinator and to us at Global Crossroad's offices before your arrival in Cambodia. You will be met by a local staff member or our in-country coordinator. They will be holding a sign with your name, awaiting your arrival outside of the airport.
If you miss our representative due to flight delay or confusion, please call the in-country coordinator number provided in your placement details. This rarely happens, but be prepared by keeping this important information with you as you travel. Make sure you look carefully for your pick-up representative, as it is normally busy outside of the airport.
In the event that your arrival time is changed/delayed, requiring you to stay overnight in a hotel (or if you failed to meet Global Crossroad's representative at the airport), you should hire a taxi at the airport. Request the taxi deliver you to the hotel designated in your placement details/pre-departure information. Remember to request a receipt from the driver.
IMPORTANT: Ensure that you have contacted Global Crossroad's in-country coordinator BEFORE boarding a taxi. Participants are advised to contact Global Crossroad's Cambodia In-Country Coordinator the next day and let him/her know their whereabouts.
You can arrive up to a week early for your assignment; however, you are responsible for making and paying for these arrangements (including accommodations and food), and must still meet the in-country coordinator at the airport on the designated date.
We ask that participants depart from Cambodia on the Saturday following the completion of their assignment.
All Cambodia volunteers should depart from Phnom Penh, Cambodia (Phnom Penh Pochentong International Airport) unless you receive other instructions in your placement details.
GC does not offer airport drop-off services. You will need to arrange a taxi or bus ride to the airport following your assignment's completion. This is a simple process and our Cambodia in-country coordinator or your host family will normally be very happy to assist you with the arrangements.
While volunteering in Cambodia, Global Crossroad's weekly fees include management of volunteers' meal plans and accommodations throughout projects. Three meals a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner) will be provided and consist of local ingredients and feature traditional cuisine choices for Cambodia. Generally, volunteers have breakfast at a local restaurant or at their accommodations or project. Dinners tend to be at accommodations and lunch is sometimes offered by the project. Food and drinks outside of meal times are the volunteer's responsibility. In most cases, there are restaurants and markets nearby the places in which our volunteers stay. During your volunteer work in Cambodia, we normally place our volunteers in a guesthouse or with a host family depending on project location. The main guesthouse we place in is located in the center of Phnom Penh City near the Olympic Stadium and the Orussey Market. It is very comfortable and has a large roof terrace with hammocks, a TV, internet access and many amenities nearby. Staff members for our accommodations are chosen carefully and most have experience in the realm of hosting international travelers. Occasionally, volunteers receive rural placements in the provincial capitals and stay with a host family.
A unique and important part of Global Crossroad's successful volunteer in Cambodia programs is our volunteer support in-country. We put safety and comfort first as we deliver enriching and consistent experiences for our international travelers. Our support is multi-faceted while volunteers are in Cambodia and our staff is in contact with our volunteers on a regular basis either with face-to-face visits or via phone/email. Key support comes from our country coordinator and in-country field staff. These individuals are employed by our company and committed to ensuring your experience the best it can be. Your chosen project and accommodation staff offer support as well, and they are familiar with working with international volunteers and accustomed to answering questions and providing guidance. Volunteers also have access to our country coordinator's mobile number for emergencies. With longer assignments, our field staff visits regularly (every 2-4 weeks) to ensure the experience is meeting your expectations. Sometimes an assignment may be too far to visit physically, so staff members will touch-base via phone/email. You are also welcome to stop in the offices at any time. You are never alone.
Specific details regarding accommodations, food and contact details for our local coordinator will be provided in personalized volunteer placement documentation prior to arrival.
Occasionally, in most cases you will share a room with a same-gender volunteer. Please note your request and we will do our best to meet your needs.
In many situations yes, but please contact our office regarding your situation, since it may depend upon individual accommodation availability and time-of-year circumstances. Please be reminded that volunteers of different genders are often not permitted to stay in the same room, unless they are a married couple.
Yes, more often than not, but this depends on the exact assignment and accommodation placement. If you want to travel with a companion or group, we allow and encourage this option. You may be placed with different host families, but these residences will generally be located close (within one to two miles) to each other. Please be reminded that volunteers of different genders will normally not be allowed to stay in the same room, unless they are a married couple.
Bathroom facilities depend up on the location and project. Most of our host families have running water and western (or modern)-style toilets. However, in a few projects/accommodations there are varying toilet and bathroom situations.
In most cases, laundry will be washed by hand. It is the responsibility of volunteers.
It is your own responsibility to do your laundry. In most instances though, you will need to wash your clothes by hand.
Yes, but you will need an electrical converter. Information for different countries can be found on the Internet, for example http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mains_electricity.Your local small appliance specialty or travel retailer can advise you on plugs and voltage converters.
Global Crossroad organizes food and accommodations for the extent of your volunteer assignment.
Global Crossroad can provide both vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals, but if you require a vegetarian diet we advise you stay in a guesthouse as meat is a meal staple in Cambodia and guesthouses are more flexible with their menus. We cannot accommodate special dietary needs (i.e. diabetics). If you require a special menu beyond vegetarian/vegan needs, you will need to be responsible for your own meals.
In most developing countries, tap water is not safe to drink. We recommend that you purchase bottled water for your consumption, but make sure that the cap's seal is not broken! You can also request that your host family boil water for you each day for you to consume.
Specifics pertaining to availability of hot water will be included in participants' placement details.
No, the purchase of bottled water is a volunteer's responsibility.
Any international travel requires caution and awareness. We suggest that all volunteers consult their own government advisory office before participating in a Global Crossroad program. International travel does present risks, especially with the modern-day threat of international terrorism. The U.S. State Department issues travel warnings and advisories in many countries for American travelers. These travel advisories and warnings change frequently as situations in each country transform.
These links provide travel information:
We use the Center for Disease Control traveler's health recommendations www.cdc.gov. You should also consult a travel doctor who will be knowledgeable about current epidemics, health risks and recommended vaccinations.
No! Cambodia is still considered a developing country and you should be cautious. While you are in Cambodia, food safety should be a major consideration. You can hardly resist the tempting novelty of street vendors and their food variety, but you should abstain. Our suggestion is to avoid eating on the streets until you get familiar with the general situation. The food will likely taste quite different from anything you have had before. Food safety problems can range from chemicals and contaminants, to bacteria as well as some other diseases. In Cambodia, poor food cooking, preparation, and storage, as well as improper cleaning and disinfecting of cooking supplies is very common among street vendors. Therefore, we do not suggest buying food from street vendors.
Major cities have ATM machines, although not all will accept international cards. You can withdraw cash from most international banks from ATM machines, but $2-4 USD surcharges apply for each transaction.
MasterCard, Visa, Cirrus/Maestro and American Express cards are usually only accepted at the more expensive restaurants and hotels. Use caution when paying by credit card, as there is potential for fraud.
Ensure that you have notified your home bank of your intent to travel to Cambodia. This will provide you the necessary information and alleviate any confusion at your home bank regarding international transactions, which can result in a cautionary freeze on your account in some cases.
Most travelers to Cambodia do not exchange currency at any time and use US currency, no larger than $20 as there appears to be a counterfeit problem and many businesses will not accept larger bills. Customers automatically acquire possession of riel when paying in US Dollars and receive the change below one Dollar in Riel.
For a marginally better rate, Dollars can be exchange into riel at sidewalk money exchangers. Currencies other than US Dollars can be exchanged at the banks. It is recommended to bring a sufficient amount of US Dollars for the entire duration of your stay.
It is advised that you bring an ATM card and a MasterCard as Visa does not always work at ATM machines.
USD traveler's checks are not a good travel option, difficult to exchange in small towns and villages. Travelers are advised to have cash on hand. You may exchange currencies at the airport or at a bank.
Most travelers in Cambodia use US currency and do not exchange currency. Most places will not accept US bills higher than $20 due to a prevalent counterfeit problem.
Global Crossroad manages food and rooms for our volunteers throughout the assignment; therefore, you will not need more money to pay for these expenses. However, if you plan to take part in activities outside of our organization or buy some souvenirs, you will need to bring extra money.
On a side note, you must also remember the fee for visas, which can range from US $50-100 depending on the length of stay. There may also be an airport tax that you pay upon your departure from Cambodia. You will want to determine the amount of extra money you bring based on these factors.
Carrying cash is not always safe; therefore, do not carry a large surplus of cash with you. It is advised that you carry cash in a money belt with some additional stashed in your wallet.
The contact details of our Cambodia in-country Coordinator will be given in final placement sheet. You can contact him by email or telephone; we suggest all volunteers talk with country coordinator before they arrive.
International Direct Dialing from Cambodia is available in cities. Phone cards are widely available and calls can be made from post offices, hotels and phone booths on the streets. In hotels, local calls are generally charged at a nominal fee. Internet cafes are available in most towns, although they can sometimes be noisy as they are a popular spot for the youth to play online games. You can use any type of communication to call back home.
Communication options depend on where you are placed. Most placements will have access to a post office, so mail and postcards are an option. If you are in a city placement, there are many places to make international phone calls or access the internet. These details will be provided prior to your departure to Cambodia, so you can share communication options with your family and friends before you depart.
Yes, but it may or may not work. You will want to contact your mobile phone provider to make sure that your phone will work while you are in Cambodia, but remember that roaming will apply and those charges can be very, very expensive. To avoid them, you may be able to buy a local SIM card to use in your phone. Research and confirm this information before traveling.
Volunteers should dress conservatively when at their assignments. Jeans and a t-shirt are acceptable. No short-shorts and tank tops please. Remember to consider the regional religious beliefs of Cambodia, which may be extremely conservative and revealing clothing is unacceptable - shorts and skirts must be at least knee-length and no one should show their shoulders.
Theravada Buddhism has been the Cambodian state religion since the 13th century (except during the Khmer Rouge period), and is currently estimated to be the faith of 95% of the population. Hinduism first influenced Cambodia during the beginning of the Kingdom of Funan period. Hinduism was one of Khmer Empire’s official religions. Cambodia is home to one of the only two temples dedicated to Braham in the world. Angkor Wat of Cambodia is the largest Hindu temple in the world.
The people of Cambodia respect different cultural backgrounds, religious beliefs, and moral concepts. You are free to practice on your own accord. Remember to be respectful of the Cambodian customs and traditions while traveling.
Be inclusive and show respect of their culture. Cambodia's culture is rich in customs and traditions. People of Cambodia enjoy sharing their customs and traditions with foreigners so feel free to take part with them. You can go with your host family on outings if they ask you to or invite them along with you to go on an outing. Simply helping your family do household chores will be another bonding experience that you can enjoy.
Placements while volunteering in Cambodia are available in Phnom Penh, Pursat and several other provinces. Phnom Penh is a charming, yet rapidly developing city situated where three great rivers come together (the Mekong, Tonle Sap, and Bassac rivers). The town offers many tourist attractions such as the Royal Palace, National Museum, Wat Phnom, and the Toul Sleng Genocide Museum. It is a perfect base for afternoon, day, or weekend trips to the other provinces and the coast.
Phnom Penh has a wide range of international cuisine restaurants, colorful markets, Internet cafés, and a wealth of other interesting places off the beaten track. In the other provinces, volunteers will usually stay in the provincial capitals, which are mostly quiet, and medium sized cities with basic amenities like traditional Cambodian restaurants, markets, and laundries.
Pursat, for example is a peaceful provincial capital of Pursat Province, which has at present 270,000 residents living on the banks of the Stung Pursat River that flows through the city. The city is located on the main railway line and the main bus route from Phnom Penh to Battambang. The bus trip to Phnom Penh takes around 4 hours and 3 hours to Battambang. These cities offer worthwhile and easy weekend-trips from you volunteer opportunity in Cambodia project location.
Over long weekends, when you are part of a volunteer program in Cambodia, you will have the opportunity to explore the country and should take some time to visit the main attractions of Cambodia, particularly the majestic temples of Angkor Wat in Siem Reap province and the beautiful coconut beaches of Sihanoukville. For this trip, a minimum of 3 or 4 days should be planned and, when possible, take the Friday off from your volunteer work in Cambodia!
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Tipping is not expected but as always appreciated. If you want to tip, 10% percent is generous and will go a long way (with the prevalence of poverty probably much higher than in your home country).
NOTE: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) is generic information and should not be used as a definitive travel guide. Travel information and situations abroad change constantly. Participants should consult Global Crossroad or travel advisors to verify this information.